Case Description—An 8-year-old male Golden Retriever was evaluated because of an 8-week history of intermittent diarrhea with melena and hematochezia that were not responsive to medical treatment and resulted in severe anemia.
Clinical Findings—Exploratory celiotomy with intestinal and colonic biopsy revealed mild enterocolitis but did not result in diagnosis of the cause of melena and hematochezia. Endoscopy of the upper portion of the gastrointestinal tract and colonoscopy were performed. Multifocal areas of coalescing, tortuous mucosal blood vessels were observed in the cecum and all regions of the colon. A diagnosis of vascular ectasia (VE) was made on the basis of the endoscopic and histologic appearance of the lesions.
Treatment and Outcome—An ileorectal anastamosis was performed. Melena and hematochezia resolved within 3 days after surgery, and the anemia resolved within 6 weeks after surgery. Surgical resection of the cecum and colon and feeding of a highly digestible diet resulted in long-term (22 months) resolution of clinical signs.
Clinical Relevance—Initial exploratory celiotomy with intestinal and colonic biopsy failed to reveal the VE lesions responsible for the melena, hematochezia, and anemia. Endoscopic evaluation was necessary for detection of the colonic VE lesions. Surgical resection of the cecum and colon and feeding of a highly digestible diet may result in a favorable outcome in affected dogs.